‘I have a good feeling about this one,’ I say very confidently.
‘Okay, I say trust your instincts. Let’s do this,’ Levine claps his hands to add power to the excitement.
‘Take a right. Right here and there it is. What did I tell you?’ I add the victorious head bob to my speech. People always join in on the victorious head bob at moments of total exhilaration. This bobbing harmony makes up for good beats.
‘What number is it?’
‘I don’t know, probably the one with the big ostrich outside in the front yard.’
‘No way Eric and Gloria would put a giant bird in their yard. I bed there is not even a ribbon in the front window.’
He’s right. I hate it when he’s right. ‘What was the baby’s name?’ I whisper in a moment of total panic before we enter the room where the thing is lying. Levine gets a huge smile on his face and doesn’t answer. I give him the wide eye sting.
‘Congratulations,’ we both sing in harmony. ‘We did not rehearse this,’ I shout in defence. And then there’s the kissing and the passing on of material goods.
‘So there it is,’ I say looking at the little thing from above.
‘It’s a boy,’ says Eric who knows my little people skills and has long hair just like Levine.
‘Great, another one,’ I say. Levine hits me on the head, but Eric laughs out loud. ‘Especially for you,’ he says.
‘Wow, I’m so glad you think of me when you make the little people.’
Gloria starts laughing really loud now, I’m afraid I set the mood. ‘He better not,’ she says.
Levine puts his hand over his eyes. ‘What? Like you’re the expert.’
‘Okay, I will show you how this works,’ and he picks the baby up like it’s his own. I stand in awe and make a deep bow to him. ‘Now what’s his name?’ I say. He looks at the little people but remains silent. I sniff and say: ‘Lars,’ and I sit down proudly. ‘No way. How did you know?’
Gloria puts fresh baked apple pie on the table. I look at the baby and pick up my piece and shamelessly start eaten it. ‘What?’
‘Seriously, how did you know his name?’
‘Hey, I have instincts too, you know. Maternal instincts and such.’
‘Or she can read better than you,’ Eric points at the huge sign on the wall. I laugh.
‘Delicious pie. Hmmm. Just great.’
‘Glad to hear your sense of direction isn’t always that good. You already dented my male ego today by giving me directions in the car. Please, be gentle on me the rest of the day.’
I bend over to him and want to whisper something but the little people suddenly got me in his vision and gives me the stare. And the little people stare is the scariest stare there is. He’s eyes won’t let go of me.
‘I think he likes you,’ says Gloria who’s sitting on the couch across us.
‘No, the little people don’t like me. I can assure you. They collectively dislike me.’
But Eric picks his son up and puts him in my arms. ‘Are you sure?’ I say with a shivering voice. ‘See you can do this,’ says Eric. I blink my eyes. He’s not crying. Moreover, he’s smiling. I take a look at Levine who’s totally engrossed in his warm pie and has no notion of this momentous place in time. So I look at Lars who is totally amused by me and starts to giggle. ‘Babies giggle?’ I look up and scout the spectators. One is in his food, the other shrugs and one more laughs like his son does. I look at the little people and he starts laughing louder. I lean back. ‘He’s going to town and so are you,’ I bump Levine, ‘Look, the little people is showing you what life is all about. This is profound and unspoilt wisdom right here at close distance. He is teaching us something and we need to show discernment, take in the moment.’
‘Tess, he is smiling.’
‘Yes,’ I say while I raise a finger, ‘but at what?’ Levine and Eric exchange a look. ‘That’s what I mean. Laugh at nothing, Unspoilt and blatantly laughing just for the laughter. Just for the smile. Just for the fun of it. You and me are going to be good friends,’ I say to Lars who starts laughing so loud tears roll down his cheeks. Everybody doubles over now, after my bold speech.
‘You’re right. Laughter is great. We should do it more often,’ says Levine.
‘Thanks for helping,’ says Eric.
‘That is not what he’s trying to say. Don’t listen to the big people Lars. They just don’t get it. They are to grown up and boring. Oh, we have to text Macy about this!’
The moment Levine picks up my phone from the table Macy texts me. She wants a picture. ‘How did you know?’ Levine says shaking his head.
In the car I sit down with a sigh. ‘What?’ says Levine.
‘I just made a baby smile today. I did a good deed. Let me dwell in this moment a little longer please. I’m quite at ease with myself.’
‘You do know what this means don’t you?’
‘You’ll be their babysitter with your new found baby entertaining skills.’
‘Oh no.’ I hang my head.